The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Did Weather Destroy the Tang Dynasty?


Below is an excerpt from an article at Breitbart.com describing how climate changes might have caused the Tang Dynasty to reach an untimely end. If you click on the title of this post, you'll be directed to the article online.



Climate shift helped destroy China's Tang dynasty: scientists

Jan 03 2:25 PM US/Eastern

The Tang dynasty, seen by many historians as a glittering peak in China's history, was brought to its knees by shifts in the monsoon cycle, according to a study.

Famed for a flowering of art and literature and for prosperity brought by trade with India and the Middle East, the dynasty spanned nearly three centuries, from AD 618 to 907, before it was overwhelmed by revolt.

Scientists led by Gerald Haug of the Geoforschungszentrum (GFZ) in Potsdam, eastern Germany, looked at sedimentary cores taken from a lake at Zhanjiang in coastal southeastern China, opposite the tropical island of Hainan.

The magnetic properties and content of titanium in these deposits are an indicator of the strength of the winter cycle in the East Asian monsoon system, they believe.

They found that over the past 15,000 years, there had been three periods in which the winter monsoon was strong but the summer monsoon was weak.

The first two periods occurred at key moments during the last Ice Age, while the last ran from around 700 to 900. Each of these monsoon shifts coincided with what was, relative to the climate epoch, unusually cold weather.

The twilight of the Tang began in 751, when the imperial army was defeated by Arabs.
But what eventually destroyed the dynasty were prolonged droughts and poor summer rains, which caused crop failure and stoked peasants' uprisings. Eventually, these rebellions led to the collapse of the dynasty in 907.

Haug's team suggests this shift in tropical precipitation occurred on both sides of the Pacific, not just in coastal East Asia.

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